The Confusion Of Normal Wear And Tear

Normal wear and tear is an illusive concept. One person’s wear and tear is another person’s damage.  Colorado statute defines normal wear and tear as “deterioration which occurs, based upon the use for which the rental unit is intended, without negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse of the premises or equipment or chattels by the tenant or members of his household, or their invitees or guests.”  Unfortunately, the statute does very little to clarify a landlord’s dilemma, and there is very little case law interpreting this definition.  So if there is no hard and fast rule, how can a landlord avoid court challenges and tenant disputes about normal wear and tear?

The best way to make sure that both the landlord and the tenant know what constitutes normal wear and tear is to define the concept as specifically as reasonable in a lease clause or a charge list addendum.